- Mark Fisher Staff Writer
So, what’s next for the former Olive Urban Dive/Wympee Diner space? We went straight to the source to find out.
The owners of Arepas & Co. Colombian Comfort Food, Jhembert (J.R.) and Lisa Perdomo, signed a lease last week for the space at 416 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton — just four blocks from where Arepas & Co. opened its first location in the 2nd Street Market in 2012. In March 2014, the Perdomos opened their second restaurant at 1122 E. Dorothy Lane in Kettering. And over the next month, they’ll be very busy in the former Olive space.
Here’s what Lisa Perdomo had to say about their new venture:
Q: Does this new restaurant have any impact on the Kettering or 2nd Street Market locations?
A: No impact at all, we are very happy with the support we have received at both locations as our customer base continues to grow, and more people learn about our concept and are delighted by our friendly service, neighborly ambiance and flavorful dishes.
Q: What’s your projected timetable for the former Olive?
A: Right now we are in the process of securing all the respective licenses and permits necessary to operate, and on furnishing and decorating the new location. We plan to open the Wympee location by mid January 2016. Our initial hours of operation will be Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. but we will review them and adjust them as we learn more about our customer base.
Q: What were some of the factors that led you to lease the space?
A: As you know, our roots are in downtown Dayton at the 2nd St Market; however, the market only opens 15 hours a week, so after feeling confident that our concept was sustainable we decided to start looking for a more permanent, extended presence in downtown. We believe in the bright future ahead for downtown Dayton, and we want to support it and be part of it. The major factors that led us to lease the space were its high visibility, the historical appeal the Wympee building presents and the great reputation associated with it that Olive built with its innovative and noble concept.
Q: What does it mean to you to be downtown and to be opening a bricks-and-mortar restaurant within a few blocks of where Arepas got its start in the market?
A: Our 2nd St Market location was our incubator since we didn’t know how well our concept was going to be received; however, we are very grateful for the success we’ve experienced as a result of both the support we have received by the staff of Five Rivers MetroParks and for how well the Dayton community has embraced our concept. We believe the 2nd St Market is more of a destination where people go to try new, fun things (our arepas among them!) while our new Wympee location will cater more to the surrounding businesses and communities on a permanent basis.
Q: How many people will you be able to seat in the new restaurant, and about how many employees do you think you’ll open with?
A: We anticipate to seat 30 people inside and 16 people in our back patio. Our plan is to hire six employees to begin with and add additional staff as necessary.
Q: Are you still looking to expand through the region if things continue to go well for Arepas?
A: Definitely! One of our customers wrote in our Facebook page that “we are taking over the world” and while that would be quite exciting we want to be known for our small footprint, unpretentious concept, neighborly ambiance, friendly customer service, flavorful and fun dishes at affordable prices.
Q: Are you still operating the Warren County location? If so, is it still seasonal?
A: We decided to focus our efforts on permanent and not seasonal locations; therefore, we did not renew our lease at the Corwin location at the end of November. Many of our Waynesville and Corwin customers continue to visit us at our Kettering location.